NY Times, AP Focus on Backlash, Submerge Details of Iraqi Migrant's Murder of German Girl

Ali Bashar, a 20 year-old Iraqi who sought and was rejected for asylum in Germany, has been arrested after fleeing to Kurdistan, and has now reportedly admitted to raping and killing 14 year-old Susanna Feldman in Wiesbaden in May.

A New York Times report posted before that reported admission, as well as Associated Press items appearing both before and after it, betray a clear reluctance to acknowledge key facts in the case, and an overriding concern that opponents of Germany's permissive migration policy might gain political traction from this horrific crime.

The most recent in-house story at the Times appeared on Friday (the Times's website has carried about a half-dozen wire reports about the case during the past week, including three appearing after reporter Katrin Bennhold's article).

The story's headline effectively told readers that the political implications of the murder were more important than the details of the crime, while its early content labored mightily to avoid mentioning the arrest, causing readers who didn't get that far to believe that the Bashar might be one "suspect" among several:

NYT1onGermanyMurder060818

Commenting on the underlined items:

  • As noted, Bennhold appears to believe that the potential political fallout is worse than the crime.
  • (Next 3 items) The problem here is that there was no "migration debate" in Germany. Angela Merkel just decided that "Wir schaffen das" ("we can do it"), and the mass influx of "migrants" began. Bennhold deliberately chose violent references to opponents having a "cudgel" and "ammunition."
  • In Europe, the press automatically tags anyone who advocates even a modicum of common sense in dealing with the poorly managed and thus far unmanageable results of mass migration as "far-right."
  • That the government has "botched handling of asylum cases" is not a "contention." What Bennhold described in her own writeup — "over half a million people whose asylum applications were turned down remain in Germany, with about half of them due for deportation" — is a fact.

Finally, Bennhold noted Bashar's arrest in an oh-by-the-way mention at the end of Paragraph 9, after telling readers that he has a prior record of police contact:

NYT2onGermanyMurder060818

The fact that Bashar was able to flee Germany in the manner described leads one to wonder if there isn't more in his background than we're being told.

Bennhold didn't name Susanna Feldman as the victim until Paragraph 13. She never identified Feldman as Jewish, though many other news outlets have, including the UK Telegraph.

At the Associated Press, one four-paragraph item time-stamped Friday, June 8, provided more details about the case than a later one published Saturday.

Here's the earlier item:

AP1onSusannaFeldman060918

In the latter item, the AP clearly decided that discussing politics was more important than Ali Bashar's prior record:

AP2onSusannaFeldman060918

Both AP items failed to fully name Susanna Feldman, even though several outlets, including the BBC (June 8) and CNN (June 7), already had. Neither AP report noted that Bashar has admitted to the murder, even though it was widely known by the time AP's second item appeared.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.


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Crime Immigration Labeling Political Scandals Associated Press New York Times Katrin Bennhold Angela Merkel